Summary: Just what is the message behind the parable of the Prodigal Son?
Finally he was free. Free. Free of the endless chores. Free of getting up at the crack of dawn and working until long after the sun set. Free of milking the cows, tilling the fields, cleaning the stables, and all the other endless chores around the farm.
Turning away from the farm, he now faced towards his future. His future looked carefree. He had plenty of money in his pocket and no responsibilities. He had a clear road in front of him and not a cloud in the sky above him. In the trees by the side of the road the birds were singing sweetly, the sun was warm but too hot, and the hills were a vibrant green in the distance.
As he walked he mused about his past. He realized that he had a very fortunate childhood. His father was a wealthy man with many servants and much land and cattle. His older brother was a bit overbearing and took his responsibilities too seriously. At times he had wondered if his brother had a sense of humor at all.
He chuckled to himself as he remembered an incident were he spooked a cow while his brother was milking it. The cow was so startled that she kicked the milk bucket so hard it flew into his brothers lap spilling the milk all over him. His brother got so mad his face turned purple!
He knew he would miss his family, but he felt stifled at home. He never had time to do the things he wanted to do. There was so much work that required his attention, and so little free time. Often when he did have some free time, he was just too tired to enjoy it that all he wanted to do was sleep. That wasn’t what he wanted to do with his life. He never had the chance to go to town, let alone to the next county.
He was young, he wanted to see the world! There had to be something better on the other side of the distant hills. He did not want to spend his life as a farmer! He wanted a life of his own, be his own man, do what he wanted to do and not have someone constantly ordering him about. After all, he knew what was best for himself! He was old enough to leave home and, by golly, that is just what he did!
Resolved in his mind, the young man strode forth confidently towards the distant hills. He paid attention to the scenery as he walked. Never before had he had the opportunity to enjoy a walk. Before now, if he went anywhere off the farm it was to accomplish a task. Usually he was taking animals to market or to a neighbors farm to sell. On those occasions his attention was diverted away from the scenery and directly on the animals to ensure that they were not wondering away.
After several hours, he passed over the crown of a hill and stopped as he gazed at the display on the other side. A town. Not a small town like at home where he sold the products of his father’s farm. A real town. This town had hundreds of buildings! There all kinds of people. Short ones, tall ones, fat ones and skinny ones going to and fro through the town. The colors! Reds, browns, greens, purples, yellows. So many colors! And the noise! Oh my the noise. People were yelling, whistling, singing, talking, grunting. Oh this was exciting! It was so noisy and he wasn’t even in the town yet! He decided to sit down by the roadside and just drink in the spectacle at his feet.
After about an hour, he got up and walked down the hill towards town. As he drew closer to the city gates he became a little scared. How would he know where to go? Could he find a place to spend the night? Could he find a place to eat? Or buy clothes so he wouldn’t look like a farmer? Did they speak the same language as he did? He became more and more worried the closer he came to the gate. Would they even let him in the town?
He decided to pretend that he was an important person and tried very hard not to stare too much. As he came to the gate he started to feel a little less scared. Nobody paid attention to him. And everybody spoke the same language he did.
After he entered the town, he asked directions to the nearest inn. He was hungry and wanted something to eat. He was able to follow the directions with ease and soon had a nice warm dinner in front of him. He was also able to secure a room for the night as the landlord had a vacancy.